GMB London slam Water UK warning about gardeners using water after wettest Autumn/Winter in living memory

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Water Companies should see that any problem is in the systems that they are paid to operate and trying to pass this problem to households won’t wash says GMB London 

GMB London, the union for water workers, commented on the warning from Water UK that gardeners must avoid using sprinklers to help with water pressure in this good dry weather. See notes to editors below for copy of the report in Press Association. 

Mick Ainsley, GMB London Region Organiser said:

"This warning from Water UK about gardeners using water is more than a bit outrageous. It comes after one of the wettest Autumn and Winters in living memory. It rained constantly between September and March. 

If there are problems with the availability of water to households after such heavy rainfall then the Water Companies have to face the fact that the problem is part of the systems that they are paid to keep in tip top condition. Trying to pass this problem to households won’t wash. 

GMB London call on Government and Parliament to summon the water chiefs to explain why after this massive rainfall a short period of good dry weather is unbalancing their systems and what steps they are planning to take to put it right. 

Water companies and others saying that water is a scarce commodity flies in the face of the facts. What is scare is the willingness to invest to guarantee reliable availability to all households in one of the wettest countries in Europe. "



Mick Ainsley, GMB London Region Organiser 079 7425 0947

GMB London Region Press Office 079 7001 9643


Notes to editors 

Copy of report on Press Association 


01 Jun 2020 - 10:29, By Emily Beament, PA Environment Correspondent

Gardeners are being urged to avoid using sprinklers in the evening as dry weather and the lockdown continue to drive high demand for water.

The call by industry body Water UK comes after what is expected to be the driest May for England since 1896, with official figures published by the Met Office later on Monday.

Forecasters say the weekend's sunny weather, which saw crowds of people flock to beaches and beauty spots across England ahead of lockdown restrictions being eased on Monday, will continue until midweek.

Water UK said there was no shortage of water, but everyone using more at the same time as they enjoy the sunny weather outdoors can lead to lower water pressure, which affects how well it flows out of taps.

Water companies have seen a huge rise in demand for water from households, particularly in the evenings, with use up 20% and some areas seeing peak demand of up to 40% above normal for the time of year.

The combination of lockdown, which has kept people at home, and the sunny, dry weather is pushing up demand from households using water in the garden.

If gardeners anxious to maintain lawns and flowerbeds in the dry weather can avoid using a garden sprinkler at peak demand time in the evening, it would make a big difference to water pressure, Water UK said.

Other simple steps to reduce water use include taking shorter showers, making sure the dishwasher is full and on an eco-setting before running it through, and reusing paddling pool water on the flowerbeds.

But the industry body stressed people should keep following the guidance on protecting their health during the pandemic, by making sure they wash their hands regularly.

And after a wet winter, there are good supplies of water in reservoirs and there are currently no plans for hosepipe bans in the UK, Water UK said.

Water UK chief executive Christine McGourty said: "It's a great time to be out in the sunshine if you can, but this record sunny weather is bringing record peak demands for water.

"Just small changes through the day will make all the difference, and there are plenty more tips on staying wise about water in these unprecedented times.

"The less water we use at peak times, the less likely it is that water will be 'under pressure'."